The Dairymen were on the road last Sunday, playing two games by the rules of 1864 at Ommegang’s Old Time Baseball Weekend. After dropping the first game to an experienced and talented Elkton, Maryland squad, the Dairymen bounced back against a combined squad from New Jersey to even their record for the day. The Dairymen improved their overall record to 2-1.
In game one, the Dairymen jumped to a 3-1 lead behind well-struck balls from the top of the order. CF Alex “AT” Taylor, SS Dylan “Hobbes” Tucker, Captain/catcher Nick “the Stick” Frandsen, and LF Ben “the Gamer” Denison all contributed to the Dairymen first inning. However, the bats went silent and two error-plagued innings allowed Elkton to plate five runs in each frame. The day was slick with sporadic rain and clouds, and playing by the rules of 1864 for the first time this year, Bovina's fielding stumbles let the gap balloon to 13-4 after five and a half frames.
However, the Dairymen did not quit, and tallied three runs in the bottom of the sixth to bring the score to 13-7. Denison, 2B Jake “Swan” Sackett, 3B Brenden Cairns, and hurler Gary “Bird’s Eye” Burns all struck safely in the sixth, but the rally would be all but quenched there. A cunning Elkton squad exploited the Dairymen inexperience with the rules of 1864 to stamp out rally attempts in both the seventh and eighth. The final score of 14-8 handed the Dairymen their first loss on the season.
It is worth noting that Elkton, as the hosts of the northeast’s preeminent vintage baseball festival in Gettysburg, are often considered the gold standard for 1864 ball. Unconfirmed rumors swirled through the beer tent, placing Elkton scores as high as 50 runs in a game this season. Of special note was left fielder “Gamer” Denison, who had a busy day with the lively Elkton bats. Denison made the defensive play of the day—a full-speed, sliding catch some 50 feet in foul territory to help stem the bleeding during one of Elkton’s big innings. Three cheers, sir!
The Dairymen rebounded in the second game against a combined team from New Jersey led by the New Brunswick Liberty. With a new spring in their step after a short break and some liquid encouragement provided by Brewery Ommegang, the Dairymen returned to form. Having learned the lessons of 1864 in game one, the Dairymen offense exploded for 18 runs over the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings to put the game well beyond any doubt.
Playing with a lean nine, every Dairymen hit safely at least twice in game two; and one could once again hear a smile in Bovina’s field chatter. The sun came out—both literally and figuratively—and baseball again took on a carefree aspect as Bovina cruised to a 19-4 victory. Of special note was RF John “Chico” Finn’s first stolen base on the year. After the game, rumors put Chico near the fire pit, and onlookers claim to have seen him burning sage and chanting to the spirits of Jesse Owens, Usain Bolt, and Ricky Henderson.
Final notes: Hurler “Bird’s Eye” Burns completed both games on the pitching plate for the Dairymen. During game two, 3B Brenden Cairns hit safely and scored in four straight innings. Three Dairymen split their trousers on the day, each in making the extra effort for the team that makes this all worthwhile.
Thank you to all our fans and families who came out and watched, sold t-shirts, and drove us around. We couldn’t do it without you.
Lastly, a personal note from me: in the face of not knowing the rules and being frustrated, I am extremely proud of the way the team got noticeably better over the course of the day. I believe that is a hallmark of a good club with the right personality. Nobody gave in. And if we had played those games in reverse order, I bet we would have given Elkton a run for their money. My hat is off to you, gentlemen.
Next game is this Saturday, high noon in Fleischmanns. 1895. Who is IN and who is OUT??
Captain, Bovina Dairymen